Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Delivered: D&D 5th Edition Starter Set

Amazon came calling yesterday and delivered my preordered copy of the new D&D Starter Set.  I wasn't expecting it until today so getting it a day early was a nice surprise.  I realize it's been out at select stores for a while now but that wasn't an option for me.  The closest hobby shop is over 50 miles away on the mainland and they would not have had it early anyhow.

I have flipped through the contents but have not looked closely at the details yet.  I'm still immersed deep within the pages of Moldvay and I don't have the time right now to digest the starter set properly.  I'll write a post with my thoughts in the near future but don't expect an expert review.   Others are much more qualified to do so.  Though I have been an avid collector of all editions of D&D for about ten years now, I've been out of playing far too long to be able to compare/contrast the good and bad from earlier editions.  I just plan on talking about what I like and/or do not like about it.

Just flipping through the pages last night I can already add two comments.  1) I do like the art work.  That's no small thing for me to say.  I'm firmly rooted in the traditional art from the golden years of TSR: Elmore, Parkinson, Easley, and Caldwell.  Anything different is difficult for me to admire.  So far I'm a bit impressed however.  Mainly I think I'm happy that D&D seems to be moving away from the later 3/3.5 and 4e era styles.  I really hated most of that stuff!  2) I dislike the pamphlet style books inside.  Give me solid Moldvay and Metzer style covers please!  I want to feel like I'm holding something substantial.  Otherwise I feel like I'm flipping through a glossy catalog or travel brochure.

Did any of you pick up the new starter set?  If so, what are you thoughts thus far?  Even if you are completely committed to older editions, do you think you will collect the newer stuff?


  1. I'm not doing the Starter Set, I'm just doing the free PDF download of Basic for now.

    I have pre-ordered the Player's Handbook, Monster Manual, and Dungeon Master's Guide from Amazon, though.

    I was signed up for the playtest, and got to play one playtest game at Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) a couple of years ago. I'm liking a lot of things about 5th Edition (aka Next aka Type IV).

    1. I too have reordered the Player's Handbook. I'm looking forward to seeing the "full" game finally revealed. As a collector, I really couldn't resist the Starter Set though. There's not much on the inside but I simply had to have. Plus, it was a great price.

      I'll be interested to hear your thoughts after you finish reading through the free PDF and the Player's Handbook.

  2. I plan on picking one up later this week. I almost got one at B&N last week but as I DO have a game store nearby, I held off.

    I am with you on the cover. I really like it and also what else I have seen so far. 5e definitely looks and feels like a step in the right direction. I was in on the development/playtesting and gave as much feedback as I possibly could. I downloaded the starter rules a while back and they seen like they could stand up fairly well as is.

    I don't know if I will collect or not (other than the boxed set). I will probably just wait to see each individual item and maybe pick & choose. By way of example, I still have some 3/3.5e stuff but no 4e, so a given product will have to really impress me. I probably feel this way as I don't plan to use 5e for play. Why would I when I still have Oe, 1e, 2e, B/X, BECMI, Labyrinth Lord, OSRIC, Swords & Wizardry, Castles & Crusades, Dungeon Crawl Classics, et. al. at my disposal?

    1. I'm glad you weighed in during the play test. Hopefully your suggestions have helped forge the new D&D. I feel guilty for not doing so. I read each play packet when it was released but I was never able to play a single session.

      Like you, I have all of the older editions and retro clones, with the exception of DCC. I've heard good things about the system. What are your thoughts?

  3. I probably annoyed the hell out of WotC for hammering the same basic comments time and again. Oh, well! They asked!

    Funny, I just downloaded some PDFs from the Chained Coffin Kickstarter. I only recently discovered DCC and have only looked over the RPG rules superficially. I think they said it best that it is essentially a streamlined version of 3e. To my eyes, it looks like the direction D&D should have gone in after 3e. As a d20 system, I'm not particularly interested in it for play (although I keep telling myself I need to get a hard copy of the rulebook). I know that probably doesn't help much but there it is.

    What really interests me are all the adventures and Goodman Games in general. They seem to get the aesthetic without resorting to simple nostalgia. The written material and the artwork is first rate and looks and feels fresh but with a definite "traditional" foundation. The fact that they reference Appendix N from the 1e DMG speaks volumes about where their heads are at and the direction they are coming from (and going to). D&D was originally written by intelligent, educated, creative, diverse and well-read individuals and GG gives off the same vibe. In other words: I like GG's style. There is no dumbing-it-down with these guys. Even though their modules are written for a variety of systems (including 4e), the mechanics aren't the important part. The content and feel are and are obviously the product of long experience with (and a deep love of) RPG's.

  4. I will probably be picking up the Starter Set before too long here. Three reasons:

    First, I collect and play published adventures across editions and the scenario in the new set looks promising;

    Second, even if I don't play the latest edition, I like to feel like I'm in touch with the D&D brand enough that I could play if I wanted to ... 4th edition was hard because for the first time the game changed so fundamentally that I didn't know how to play D&D any more.

    Third, I like hard copy. Pdf is ... pdf ... functional, practical, but lacking the aesthetics of print (I connect with the smell). I really didn't like the magazine-thin, fragile, glossy pages of the single 4th edition product I own (H1 Keep on the Shadowfell) and I'm afraid that the Starter Set will offer more of the same, but at least there will be a box to protect them in.

    I'm certainly looking forward the Kobold Press module series ... they had me at hardcover.